LADYSMITH — A long range vision has been adopted to overhaul Ladysmith's waterfront, which could see as many as 800 people living in 350 multi-family units.
Mayor Aaron Stone said the recently adopted Waterfront Area Plan is the culmination of years of planning and 15-months of intensive work, including public consultations. He said a little over half of the long-term vision is pegged to be public park space.
Stone conceded there has been resistance from locals nervous about increased residential density near the waterfront.
“The residential piece is a major change for people,” Stone said. “We've never had six storeys in our town before, going from a maximum of four-to-six storeys is something that's hard for people to wrap their heads around.”
He told NanaimoNewsNOW the residential buildings would sit on underutilized land and views won't be obstructed.
“Adding 10 per cent to that population over a couple decades, while at the same time quadrupling the size of the existing park to enjoy I think is an excellent trade off.”
The conceptual vision, in collaboration with Stz'minus First Nation, includes a waterfront walkway, boutiqe hotel, commercial space, as well as condos and townhouses.
Stone said short-term goals involve environmental remediation work at Slack Point Park, just north of Transfer Beach. He also said using secured grant money to upgrade the Machine Shop building, to serve as a modernized arts, culture and heritage hub, is on the short-term "to do" list.
Stone said there will be many more opportunities for public input as the plan proceeds.
“What amenities and features do we want within those park spaces? We'll dive deeper into those within the next few years."
Stone expected the pedestrian-friendly plan would take 20-to-30 years to build out, which could also see an overhead walkway crossing the Trans Canada Hwy. and railway tracks.
On Twitter: @reporterholmes
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